Animals weeks away from being put down as crowded sanctuary blames repeat lockdowns

Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue and Sanctuary near Blackpool, Lancashire, have been overwhelmed by mounting vets bills during the pandemic and they say they are close to closure

Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue and Sanctuary
The sanctuary was opened in 2018 but the pandemic has caused big problems

An animal sanctuary facing closure due to successive lockdowns could be forced to euthanise its animals.

Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in Staining, near Blackpool, is weeks from closure, LancashireLive reports.

They have spelled out the issues and say that funding is not secured by next month they will have to close their doors.

That means they will have to put down a number of their animals with medical bills overwhelming the owners.

The sanctuary has a number of rabbits and they say they are struggling to re-home them due to an outbreak of the Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease.

Founder Bailey Lister set up the sanctuary when he was just 14


Founder Bailey Lister outlined why they are struggling to find new homes for many of the animals – with many birds looked after on the site.

He said: “I opened the sanctuary in 2018 and over the last nine months we rapidly expanded so we’ve moved into a bigger premise. In total, we have 87 animals, our running costs are £400 per month and vet bills an additional £700 per month.

“Due to some of the animals having behavioural and medical issues, it’s not just as simple as finding them a new home or a new sanctuary.

“We have crows that are blind or can’t fly and birds of prey that have bonded to our staff so if we took them away, it would really affect them mentally.

But the future of the animals is now under threat


“That’s why if we close down, then we may have to euthanise these animals and that’s obviously not something we even want to consider as an option.”

The sanctuary has always relied on public donations and locals have raised funds to help pay for the running costs.

The 18-year-old added: “We have 20 rabbits in the sanctuary at the moment which is a lot more than we’d usually have as a lot of them have had to quarantine for four months to avoid the disease.

“RHVD II causes the rabbits to bleed internally which is a truly horrible way for them to pass away – we’ve lost four rabbits in the last four months.”

The teenager has now appealed for support with vets bill running into thousands


They have now launched a JustGiving page with the host of raising £10,000.

More than £7,000 has already been pledged.

“Here at Hugo’s small animal rescue and Sanctuary we offer refuge to all things furry, feathered and scaled.

“Bailey Lister founded Hugo’s in 2018 In memory of a very special rat. Just years later we run the rescue all thanks to the generosity of the general public and their donations.

Hugo’s Small Animal Rescue and Sanctuary have set up a JustGiving page


“We help a wide range of animals from pigeons to owls, rabbits and snakes that are all welcome. We are located in a little village called Staining on the outskirts of Blackpool.

“Our dedicated team work tirelessly to ensure all our animals are released back into the wild or Rehomed but for some animals neither of these are an option so unlike many other rescues we offer sanctuary places to animals who can’t be rehomed or released due to medical or behaviour issues.”

You can contribute to the cause here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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